Goodbye warm days

hello, cold germs

October 09, 2007|By BRIGITTE GREWE / Pulse Correspondent

Although it's been hot the past couple weeks, those long, warm summer vacation days are long gone. There are no more days spent lying beside the pool, absorbing all the vitamin D you can, playing sports outside and jumping sprinklers.

Now it's time to welcome fall, and everything wonderful it brings.

I love fall. It's the best season. Summer has too many bugs for my taste, spring gives me allergies and winter is cold. Fall is just right.

Except for one thing. Cold and flu season.

We've been back in school for six weeks and one of the things that always annoys me is that as soon as we get back in school, half of us get sick.

Over the Labor Day weekend, a bunch of my friends and I caught some symptoms of a cold. We concluded that it was a virus that was going around school. In my case, I'd go to school even if I was sick, because I would go crazy if I'd missed too much work. Plus, if you do miss schoolwork, when you arrive at school after you are well again, you are given a stack of papers and are expected to learn everything they had taught while you were out, and learn it by yourself.


On the other hand, it stinks when people go to school even if they have a cold or flu. Like a bad rumor, their sickness gets around.

Say you catch the cold that was going around last month. You stay at home for about three or four days, eating chicken noodle soup, watching cartoons, and trying to get well as quickly as possible. On day five, you feel well enough to get yourself to school. No problem with that, except that a common cold is contagious for seven to 10 days, so the virus will probably still be with you.

So you get to school and do all the everyday activities that you do at school. You would be surprised at how many ways you will spread your germs. You would be amazed with how many times a student will come in contact with other germs on a daily basis.

Say you're on a bus. You know those days when it's really cold and condensation builds up on the windows? Well, how many times do you see people blowing on the windows and writing on them? If a sick contagious person does that, they are exhaling germs. Or do you ever rest your head on the window? Or put your face up to the glass to look out?

Take another example: door knobs and door handles. People touch them all the time. Another point of contact are desks. People cough, sneeze and put their heads, hands and stuff on them. When they get up and leave, germs stay.

It would seem like humans are susceptible to viruses almost everywhere. But our bodies do have built-in protection, like our immune system.

Also, we have brains. To prevent exposure to germs, just stay hygienic. An easy step is to wash your hands whenever you touch something you think might be a germ carrier. Keep hand sanitizer with you. It comes in handy. Don't touch things that are obviously suspicious, like someone else's used tissue. Also, don't flush public toilets with your bare hands, or pick up something strange from the ground. Also, don't eat anything that might be contaminated, like half a sandwich from a sick friend's lunch.

It's easy. It's simple. Improve your attention to hygiene, and you take a step toward preventing yourself from getting a cold.

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